The Daily Gamecock

Game of the Century: Staff Predictions

Kratch only one to take Bayou Bengals

James Kratch: Alabama is at home and has Trent Richardson, but that won't be near enough. This game will live up to the hype for a half or so, but the Crimson Tide doesn't have the offensive weapons to consistently move the ball on John Chavis' defense. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron will be running for his life, and Richardson won't have much room to run.

The LSU offense will have its struggles, but the Bayou Bengals are athletic enough to hit a big play or two. Plus LSU has an edge on special teams and, believe it or not, on the sideline. Les Miles will have his team ready and outcoach Nick Saban.

In August, I picked LSU to win the national championship. Nothing over the last nine weeks has done anything to change my mind. The Tigers are the best team in America. They'll emphatically prove it Saturday, pulling away on a fake punt only The Hat could dial up. LSU 27, ALABAMA 13

Ryan Velasquez: There won't be much room for error on either side between LSU and Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Both teams have all but stopped opponents from running the ball so far, with each allowing less than 100 yards per game, and neither has shown a tendency to turn the ball over.

The winner of those two categories on will leave the victor, and that will be the Crimson Tide. Trent Richardson will test the LSU defense like no other tailback has. Alabama's defensive line will provide pressure quarterback Jarrett Lee hasn't faced yet this season, forcing costly interceptions and ultimately ending the Tigers' hopes. The Tide will become the new No. 1 team. ALABAMA 17, LSU 13

Isabelle Khurshudyan: The Tide will win the Game of the Century for two reasons: home-field advantage and coaching. Nick Saban is the better coach coming off a bye week and will not lose a matchup as hyped as this one, though it is not guaranteed the Tide will go undefeated and head to the national championship.

Quarterback A.J. McCarron has been largely underrated this season and will do what he needs to do to help his team win — protect the ball. Trent Richardson will advance his Heisman campaign, rushing for approximately 200 yards.

'Bama will be down by a touchdown early but will come back to win the game. Tied with a minute left, McCarron will lead his team down the field and put them in position to make the game-winning field goal as time expires. ALABAMA 27, LSU 24

Paulina Berkovich: This game will be a tight one, but I'm going with Alabama. The Tide hasn't played in a close game all season, and even though LSU has faced a tougher schedule, Alabama has to take pride in the fact it hasn't surrendered more than 14 points to any opponent this season.

Although LSU has some depth at running back, it doesn't have the passing game to light up the scoreboard against Alabama's secondary. The Tiger defense has a better chance than any other opponent to contain Trent Richardson, but they won't be able to stop him as he continues his Heisman campaign.

The biggest advantage Alabama has is its home field. Crimson Tide fans, hungry for a second national championship in three years, could be the difference in this meeting of the nation's top teams. ALABAMA 20, LSU 14